South London Art and Illustration Exhibition

The first solo exhibition of south London inspired art and illustration by Matt Bannister at Cafe Adagio, Croydon.

Matt Bannister's South London art exhibition poster

Matt Bannister's South London art exhibition poster

I'm pleased to say that I currently have a solo exhibition, called 'Rounded Corners', on the outskirts of Croydon, at Café Adagio. The display contains new and older art and illustrations of mine, all responding to the sights, characters and architecture of south London.

I created six new acrylic paintings (and some pen and ink illustrations) specifically for the exhibition, each featuring a different view of Croydon sprinkled with a few local characters. The people in the works are inspired by the shoppers, children and commuters I've seen nearby, so you may even recognise someone if you live in the area! The other pieces are influenced by a diverse range of south London places: brutalist architecture in Southwark, hungry shoppers in Borough Market, Victorian arches in Crystal Palace and brand new shiny tower blocks on Wellesley Road, Croydon.

Some of the framed Borough Market illustrations in the show have featured before on this blog, when I completed them back in September 2013. I still go there to ogle all the food.

Here's the bio blurb that I wrote to go alongside the paintings, drawings and lithography:

"Matt Bannister is an illustrator and artist obsessed with architecture and people. He creates bold and hand-drawn imagery full of character and is regularly inspired by the urban landscapes of South London. After studying fine art at university, he worked for the BBC for 13 years but has recently picked up the pen/brush/pixel and returned to creating his own work. Recent successes of his include two large bus sculptures for the TFL bus trail in Croydon, covers for The Croydon Citizen, and illustrations for Nesta and Universal Music. His imagery inspired by Crystal Palace is a popular favourite in the SE19 area too."

There are pieces inspired by Southwark, Crystal Palace and Croydon to be seen (and purchased). In addition to the framed originals on sale in the café, limited edition digital prints of some of the new Croydon work are available to buy here.

Café Adagio is located at 227 Lower Addiscombe Road, Croydon, CR06RB and is a great little place to relax with a coffee. The exhibition will be up until at least 29th July (but may be extended). More info about the exhibition can be found on my Twitter and Instagram feeds or by using these links:

Printing in mono

I've been trying out some monoprinting at home, to see what results it might produce.

Monoprint. Blue printing ink (diluted, neat and wiped). Printed on damp 220 gsm paper.

Monoprint. Blue printing ink (diluted, neat and wiped). Printed on damp 220 gsm paper.

This is what I did:

  • Monoprinting basically involves painting (with water soluble printing inks) on a water resistant surface (I've used glass).

  • I placed a printout of a photo of mine (taken in Borough, London SE1) underneath the glass, to give me something to paint over as inspiration.

  • Using either: neat ink, slightly diluted ink, ink that I scratch into, or ink that I apply then wipe off - I created my image.

  • I then place either a dry piece of paper onto the inked glass (or a piece that's been soaking for a few minutes in water but with any surface water wiped off before printing).

  • With a small roller (normally used for linocut printing) you give the back of the paper a few good rolls.

  • Carefully lift up the paper and voila! Your print.

  • Monoprinting is so called, because each print is unique, a one off. You can try to get two or three prints from one 'inking' but they will each look significantly different to your first (but still interesting if you're lucky).